Marriage is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. For some people, it doesn’t always work out that way. After the hurting stops, you move on and fall in love again. Now you’re faced with the task of planning a second wedding. But where to begin?
We’ll cover different ideas for your second wedding. We’ll also give you some good budgeting tips and provide some creative gift ideas. Not to worry – we’ll cover etiquette rules as well. Everything you would hope to have answered will be right here, so let’s get started.
Fun Ideas for Your Second Wedding
If your first wedding was low-key, you may want to do something more extravagant this time around. In this case, you may decide on a destination wedding at a resort venue far from home. Imagine being with your new husband or wife in a tropical environment. You're surrounded by family and friends toasting your happiness.
Destination weddings remove a lot of the stress of wedding planning. Most details of the wedding can be arranged through the resort where you choose to hold your wedding. The celebration can last for days after with outings and meals arranged for everyone.
You can have a destination wedding anywhere you choose. You’ll need to know the wedding requirements of the nation you’ll be getting married in before you go. There may be a waiting period involved, too, so keep that in mind.
Also, you might have to provide certain documents upon arrival. Call the local tourist office before settling on a location and learn the legal requirements of getting married at your destination.
A surprise wedding can be a really great spin on a traditional wedding ceremony.
What is a surprise wedding, you ask? It’s a party or event that your guests arrive to having no idea it’s your wedding in disguise. Surprise weddings are great for removing the pressure of other people's expectations.
To throw a surprise wedding, first you have to get all your family and friends in one place. This can be easier said than done with everyone’s hectic schedules. Plan your surprise under the pretext of an important birthday or dinner party. Once everyone has arrived, then you get married!
You aren’t likely to receive much (if anything) in the way of gifts by throwing a surprise wedding. Thankfully, you got all the small appliances imaginable from your first wedding.
A surprise wedding will save you a lot of money. You won’t have to pay for save-the-dates, fancy receptions, or catered sit-down dinners. You just get to throw a big party with those closest to you.
Second Wedding Ideas for Older Couples
As an older couple, a themed wedding harkening back to your childhood may be a great idea. A wedding of this nature creates a special atmosphere and makes it a day to remember forever. It can also help to set your second wedding apart from your first and avoid drawing comparisons.
Once you settle on the theme for your wedding, the planning can begin. Make sure to choose invitations and wedding favors that will fit the theme. Pick your decorations carefully, whether you’ve rented out a venue or you’re having your wedding at home. Select catering options and music playlist that compliment the theme as well.
Don’t try to do everything on your own. Get your family involved if you need to and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Having others involved in the planning of your wedding may even make the day more special. Your family members may have ideas that you don’t. Their input can be something you greatly cherish.
Get Your Children Involved
The first people you should tell about your engagement are your children. When you share your exciting news, you can ask them to take part in the wedding in some way. Younger children could want to act as the ring bearer or flower girl. Children that are older may want to be bridesmaids or groomsmen. Your kids may even be the ones to walk you down the aisle.
You can opt to include your children in the wedding ceremony itself if you want. Talk with your officiant to see where they can be added to the proceedings.
They may read a passage during the ceremony that evokes family. Your officiant may offer up a unity activity you can do with your children at the altar. They may even be able to exchange their own form of vows with you.
Don’t pressure your children into participating if they show reluctance. If you’re divorced, they may still be trying to accept that their parents aren’t reconciling. If your former spouse has passed away, the thought of you moving on may be hard for them. Should your kids choose to be included, your day becomes that much more special.
Ideas for a Second Wedding on a Budget
Avoid a Bloated Guest List
You may want to have everyone you know on your guest list, but this may not be the best idea. Your list can grow to a point where you invite people you don’t really know out of obligation. Each guest you add to your headcount increases the cost of your wedding and makes it less intimate.
Cutting down your guest list may seem like an impossible task. To overcome it, work together as a couple and establish a list of those closest to you. Make sure your immediate family and closest friends are on this list as well. From there, settle on a headcount you’re both happy with.
Hold the Ceremony at Home or Somewhere Local
Renting a hall for your wedding can be very expensive. You may want to consider using your home as the location of your ceremony instead.
If one of your parents has been offering to help, you could use their house instead of your own. Decide based on your headcount and which location will accommodate everyone best.
You could also hold your wedding ceremony in a local public park with a beautiful view. Your reception can be in the same place right after. This will create a memorable, picturesque day while eliminating venue rental costs.
Make sure to have a backup plan in case of bad weather if you are doing an outdoor wedding. Consider renting a sturdy tent if the possibility of rain is in the forecast.
Cut Corners Where You Can
The cost of different vendors for your wedding can quickly add up. Paying for your officiant, DJ, catering, and floral arrangements can be a money drain. If you’ve dealt with this during the planning of your first wedding, you may not want to again. It also may not be something you can afford depending on your financial situation.
Take a do-it-yourself approach to your wedding where you can. Create your own invitations at home. Instead of hiring a DJ, use your own stereo equipment or borrow some from a friend. Do your own catering or hire a local family-owned restaurant. Keep the flowers to an elegant but simple arrangement. Faux flowers are also an option.
Stock the Bar Yourself
Another big wedding expense is alcohol. It’s also something you can provide yourself to cut costs.
You can offer beer and wine rather than a full bar or provide a free cocktail hour followed by a cash bar. If you’re having your wedding at home, you can treat the reception as BYOB.
If you are renting a venue, the staff may allow you to provide your own alcohol rather than use theirs. This can prove to be a big money-saving measure.
Stock up on the basics from a local liquor store. Look for white and red wine and several types of beer. Pick up some gin, vodka, whiskey, and rum if you’re going to offer a full bar. Don’t forget to pick up mixers like juice and soda as well.
Buy Your Wardrobe When It’s on Sale
You can save on the cost of bridesmaid dresses by avoiding ordering custom dresses. Try shopping at a few stores with dresses on sale to see about finding something off-the-rack.
Instead of buying dresses, you can even ask the bridesmaids to wear a certain color dress they already own.
For the groom and the groomsmen, rent tuxedos as a group. Most stores will give you a discounted group rate, which will save you money. If you don’t want to go as fancy as a tuxedo, your groomsmen can wear black suits or other formal wear they have at home.
Finding a Dress for Your Second Wedding
The wedding dress is one of the most important parts of the day. As a bride taking the walk down the aisle again, you face quite a challenge. You have to pick out a gown that reflects the mood and is appropriate for the situation. The biggest question – can you wear a white dress and veil?
You can wear a white dress for your second wedding or any other color you choose. Your wardrobe for your special day is entirely up to you and your personal taste.
Depending on your ceremony, a veil may be required. If your officiant isn’t making you wear a veil, you may decide you’d rather go a different way. You can switch out the traditional headpiece with hairpins, flowers, a tiara, or even a hat. Make sure you feel comfortable with your choice and that it complements your look for your big day.
Second Wedding Gifts
A friend just announced they’re getting married again. Figuring out wedding gifts for a second marriage can be tricky. Appliances, silverware, and china sets probably won’t be as useful this time around. The couple may even be dealing with having too much stuff rather than needing household items or appliances.
In the case of most second weddings, the couple won’t bother to fill out a registry. You’re still going to want to celebrate with some sort of a gift, though. Their special day is just as important as a first marriage.
Our advice is to forget the traditional ideas of wedding gifts. Get a gift that represents the couple’s interests and style instead.
Here are a couple of great gift ideas to inspire you.
Perhaps there’s a concert coming up you know the newlyweds would love to attend. If they’re a culture-seeking couple, tickets to a play or musical would make a great gift as well. For sports fans, you could look into some tickets for upcoming minor league or professional games in the area.
A Personalized Gift
A customized gift would be a wonderful way to honor the couple’s new life together. You could go the route of a useful gift such as a personalized doormat or a set of address labels. A jigsaw puzzle using a photo of the couple or a custom Monopoly game are other fun options. The newlyweds will love the thought and care that went into the celebration of their love.
A Weekend Away from It All
Some couples who get married a second time opt to skip going on a honeymoon. If you know this to be the case, you can gift the newlyweds a weekend away. Send them on a mini vacation to a bed and breakfast or a nearby resort. You can also book the couple time at a day spa. Even a few hours alone together after the stress of wedding planning will be appreciated.
An Activity Starter or Monthly Membership
The couple made it very clear before the wedding they don’t need or want stuff. In this case, gift them something that will allow them to spend some time together. Consider a museum membership or fancy dinner reservations. You could get the couple a monthly book club membership or fruit basket delivery. Your gift may even help them discover a new passion they can share together.
Gifts Involving Family
One (or both) of the newlyweds may have children from their previous marriage. This gives you the option of giving a gift the entire family can enjoy and experience together. It could be a family dinner cruise or a day out at a sporting event. A family night at the movies or passes to an amusement park could also make great presents.
A Little Help for Their New Home
You can still get a gift that will celebrate the couple’s new home together. They may have plenty of basic furniture and dishware, but do they have a patio set for two? If their new home needs renovations, get them a gift card to a home supply store. Is the couple’s kitchen more than fully stocked? Maybe you gift them a high-end appliance like an espresso machine or a martini shaker set.
Donate to Charity in Their Name
If the couple truly has everything, a charitable gift is a great option. Choose a cause the couple is passionate about and make a donation in their name. You can choose a large well-known charitable organization or a small group local to your area. This gift can be a wonderful way to honor the couple in a special and unforgettable way.
Should I invite my ex to my wedding? There’s nothing that says you have to invite your ex to your wedding. You may choose to do so if you are on good terms with them. If you’re considering this, you should ask the person you’re marrying if they are okay with having your ex at the wedding.
Can we hold our wedding ceremony in a house of worship? Holding your wedding in a house of worship will depend on your religion. Speak to your clergy about their guidelines around remarriage. He may be willing to perform the ceremony somewhere other than a house of worship. You may also have a civil ceremony with a blessing at the church afterwards.
Who pays for a second wedding? Most couples getting married a second time foot the bill for their own wedding. Second wedding etiquette says you shouldn’t expect your parents to cover the majority of your wedding costs. They may wish to contribute to your budget if they can afford it, but that’s up to them.
Nicole Malczan is a content marketing writer and freelancer. She's applied her knowledge of marketing and SEO to many clients over the years, ranging from food service to facilities management and currency exchange. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and music.